If Conservatism is the Ideology of Freedom ….

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Then I’m the Queen of England


Tom Tomorrow always nails it on the head.

By DAVID MICHAEL GREEN

Dateline: November 24 / 25, 2007

I wish I had a nickel for every time a conservative told a lie in order to sell an ideology that would otherwise be hopelessly unappealing.But, then, what the hell would I do with ten kazillion, trillion, dollars? I wouldn’t know how to spend that much loot.These lies are legend, and they’re endlessly retold. Everything from the one about the liberal bias in the media, or the one about Ronald Reagan ending the Cold War, to the one about how the private sector is so much more efficient than the government. And how about Saddam’s arsenal of WMD, eh? Or the tax cuts that weren’t going to drive the federal government into deficit? Or remember when George Bush told us that the war in Iraq was over, before it had even really started? Or the bit about how global warming is just a great big conspiracy among those noted well-known cabalists, er … climatology scientists?

I’m only just getting started here, but you get the point. If you’re a conservative you basically have two choices ­ lie or lose. ‘Cause if you tell the truth, no one in his or her right mind would buy the garbage you’re peddling.The list of lies is endless, but my personal favorite is the one about how conservatism is the ideology of freedom, and specifically freedom from an overweening, intrusive, liberty-stealing, nanny-state government.

Sometimes when I hear that howler, I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not off in some virtual reality world (like ‘Liberty’ University, or the Republican national convention) somewhere. Because, clearly, between me and the well-programmed fool mouthing these hopeless inanities, one of us is, that’s for sure.

But I’ll tell you what, if conservatism is the ideology of freedom ­ then I’m the Queen of England. And, one thing you can be sure of is that I’m not the Queen of England. I don’t even have the right parts and pieces, and the only crown I’ve ever worn was given to me forty years ago by some pimply-faced teenager working the cash register at Burger King. Somehow, I don’t think that counts.

Meanwhile, here’s what I’d like to know: If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who fought against the American Revolution? If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to take that freedom away from us, especially women and minorities? Why did they fight against the effort to end slavery, or to give women and minorities the vote, or to protect them from discrimination? Why are they still supporting efforts to disenfranchise minorities? If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who bitterly opposed the New Deal at a time when Americans were ravaged by the Great Depression and the only freedom they were desperately seeking was from unemployment, starvation, humiliation and death?

We should give thanks for their efforts ever since then, though, as they’ve been kind enough to keep trying to liberate seniors from the hell of receiving their Social Security benefits, bravely volunteering Wall Street to carry that burden instead. If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always propping up foreign dictators, like Saddam, Musharraf, Mubarak, Marcos, Pinochet, the Shah, Batista, the House of Saud and apartheid South Africa? Why did they, in some of these cases, secretly topple democratically elected governments to install repressive regimes, which they then assisted in the torturing of their own citizens? Exactly which definition of ‘freedom’ does that fall under?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to control other people’s sexuality? Why are conservatives always telling us whom we can sleep with and what we can do in bed, even including whether we can use birth control?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to make sure that the state takes control of women’s bodies, denying them reproductive choice and freedom? If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to tell us who we can marry? How come they believe that the state ­ which they always seem to hate, except when it is at war ­ should be able to make that most personal decision for us?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always blocking the environmental regulations which are the only hope to keep our bodies free from carcinogens and other harmful effects? If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who refuse to allow us to use medical marijuana when we are suffering the effects of chemotherapy, and even perhaps at risk of dying from the wasting it causes?

Indeed, if conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are limiting the freedom of individuals to use drugs of any sort? If people want to use these substances and can do so without harming others, why do conservatives insist on restricting that freedom? If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who refuse to allow us to die with dignity when we have a terminal disease, instead thrusting the state into the most personal and private decision a human being can make?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who passed an act of Congress intervening in the personal family tragedy of Terri Schiavo, with the president of the United States ­ the same one who couldn’t be bothered to come off vacation to deal with the 9/11 threat or the Katrina disaster ­ flying across the country to sign it?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are denying many of us the freedom to live by forbidding the stem-cell research that would likely produce cures to all manner of diseases now killing of millions of us every year?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are loading up our children with mountains of debt that the federal government has borrowed under the stewardship of such notorious liberals as Ronald Reagan (who quadrupled the national debt) and George W. Bush (who borrowed more money from foreign governments than all 42 of his predecessors, combined)? Right now, every eighteen year-old just starting a payroll job owes $60,000, and rising, plus interest, as their share of the nine trillion dollars conservatives have been especially instrumental in running up as national debt. What kind of freedom, exactly, does that represent?

Assuming (quite ‘conservatively’) that that number rises to $100,000 before it is paid off, and that our young friend earns ten bucks an hour, it is the freedom to work five solid years, bringing home zero dollars after taxes, to do nothing whatsoever but paying off his share of the conservative binge.

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who have taken the very lives of four thousand of our soldiers for a war based completely on lies? This same war has left tens of thousands of Americans gravely wounded, likely more than a million Iraqi civilians dead, and well over four million more Iraqis as refugees from the violence. What kind of freedom is this? The freedom from having to be alive and well? The freedom to serve three and four rotations of extended tours in the hell of Iraq, keeping our military personnel safe from their nagging mothers-in-law at home?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are so anxious to take away our civil liberties, the most important of American freedoms, as enshrined in one of the greatest statements of freedom ever, the Bill of Rights? What happened to habeas corpus ­ a freedom dating back almost a thousand years ­ or the right to an attorney, or to have a trial, or to be protected from search and seizure without a judicially-issued warrant based on probable cause, or protection from torture? What happened to all those freedoms?

What happened is that conservatives came to town and erased them. If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always trying to have the government jam their religion down our throats, in direct opposition to the intentions of the Founders? The United States Constitution makes precisely the same number of references to the Christian god as it does to the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Zoroastrian. That would be none. What kind of freedom is it for everyone’s tax dollars to support one group’s religion, or for our government to impose a single religion on all of us?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are always telling me I should leave the country if I don’t approve the latest war for lies they’ve cooked up? How exactly does ‘shut-up or leave’ qualify as freedom of speech?

If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are constantly attempting to turn the executive branch of the federal government into a monarchy? By using signing statements, endless claims of executive privilege, lack of congressional oversight when they controlled Congress, thwarted oversight when they didn’t, and unprecedented levels of secrecy, they have shredded the fundamental doctrine of separated powers checking and balancing against each other. Since those ideas ­ the most basic concept of the Constitution ­ are intended to keep us safe from governments that would steal our liberties, just how is it that conservatism is the ideology of freedom?

Any one of these inconvenient truths, let alone the sum of all of them, demonstrate the absurdity of this claim. Not only is it ridiculous to call a conservatism that at every turn seeks to limit you ­ in what you can say, what you can ingest, who you can sleep with, marry, and even when you can end your own life ­ the ideology of freedom, but the only real conclusion that one can honestly come to on the basis of this historical record is of course just the opposite: Conservatism is, and has almost always been, the ideology of oppression—the very opposite of freedom.

When Americans wanted liberty from the British crown, conservative Tories not only in Britain but here as well fought to block that freedom. When ‘radicals’ sought to emancipate the slaves, conservatives fought to keep them in chains. When progressives later sought equality for women and blacks, it was conservatives who stood in the doorways blocking entrance. And, today, as we seek justice and fairness for all people regardless of their sexual orientation, it is ­ wait for it, now ­ the conservative movement which not only resists that effort at every turn, but in fact shamefully turns their homophobia into a tool used to win elections, just as they have been doing with racism for forty years now.

Indeed, you have to be more or less deaf, dumb and blind ­ or perhaps simply watching Fox every night for your ‘news’ (which produces the same result) ­ to buy into this rhetoric from the theater of the absurd. Let me reiterate: If you think these monsters who are depriving you of your liberties at every opportunity represent freedom, then you need to bow, scrape and walk backwards in my presence, as a sign of respect for the British crown. I’ll take a bunch of your money, too. Palaces aren’t cheap to maintain, buddy.

Yeah, sure, it’s true that conservatives will be right there for you if you want the freedom to buy guns and ammo, including ‘cop-killer’ bullets, assault rifles (to nail those most obstinate of pheasants, of course), or a fifty caliber rifle capable of bringing down a jumbo jet, and advertised as such in its sales literature. Of course, along with the freedom to buy these weapons (and how come, if the Second Amendment protects the bearing of “arms”, not ‘guns’, I can’t also legally buy cannons, napalm and tactical nuclear warheads ­ just in case the neighborhood gets a little rowdy?), also comes the lovely ‘freedom’ to join the 35,000 or so Americans every year who become very stiff corpses as a result of the massive proliferation of weapons in which America uniquely specializes. Perhaps you’d rather live in Europe, eh, enjoying being alive? Well, for the rest of you non-sissies out there, conservatives have made sure that you have the freedom to take your bullet along with you when you’re buried. What cheese-eating Frenchman ever had that freedom?

Conservatives are also busy making sure that there is plenty of freedom for corporations to pollute the land, water and air we depend on for survival. Regulation is bad, you see. Very bad. It’s much better to have freedom ­ including your freedom to get sick, or to live in a world careering toward global disaster ­ than it would be to impinge on the freedom of the super-rich to make themselves super-duper-rich. No need to worry too much about the health implications of global warming, arsenic or radioactive waste, though. Chances are you won’t live long enough to get killed this way, or to be shot by somebody whose freedom to own a gun has been well protected by nice right-wing people. That’s because conservatives are also on the front-lines in the lonely battle fighting to make sure that you have the opportunity to join the more than 47 million Americans free from having healthcare coverage, or the many tens of millions more whose policies are insufficient to keep them alive. Don’t you feel good knowing you’re free from the evils of ‘socialized’ medicine? Isn’t profit-driven corporate non-care so much better? Forget about “Give me liberty or give me death”. Now you can have both!

One thing you can’t argue about, however, is that it is conservatives who will keep your taxes down. Right? Well, yeah, if you mean this year. And if you mean nickels and dimes. But then, by applying the same logic, making your house payment on a credit card would be defined as keeping your monthly expenses down. (Of course, since you’re about to lose your house anyhow, as a result of conservative economics, that may be a moot point.) But there’s just these two little problems. One is that the nice people who loan you money invariably want to be paid back. And, two, they want interest on the loans as well. I don’t know who middle-class Americans dreamed would be paying for their meager tax cuts, which ­ along with massively increased government spending by those paragons of fiscal responsibility, you guessed it, conservatives ­ were funded by charging it all on the federal plastic, but you can bet America’s creditors know all our addresses. They’ll find us when the bill comes due.

Of course, this is only the beginning. What the tax cuts were really about was shifting the burden of funding government from the wealthy to the middle class, and from today’s generation to tomorrow’s. So, not only will middle class Americans, or their kids, have to pay back everything borrowed these last six years to fund their piddly little tax cuts, plus interest accrued, but they will also be paying for the massive tax cuts that were given to the massively wealthy.

Which, of course, is really what the whole elaborate kabuki dance of conservative ‘freedom’ was ever all about, from the beginning. As one of the greatest political marketing ploys of all time, it used pathetic middle class tax cuts plus supremely ironic restrictions on social and personal liberties to sell a bunch of frightened naifs on the notion that conservatism is the ideology of freedom, all so that the ubër-class could realize their dream kleptocracy in place of a government actually devoted to public service. And, remarkably, it worked ­ at least for a time.

Don’t you feel better now that you’re free after decades of Reagan, Gingrich, Bush, Cheney, DeLay and Scalia? You’re free to shut up with your unpopular ideas. You’re free from having to make difficult decisions when you’re pregnant. You’re free to be arrested for smoking a joint to keep from vomiting while you’re doing chemotherapy. You’re free from having to worry about which sex you’re going to sleep with or marry. You’re free from protection against guns or from long life in a healthy environment. And when you do get shot or sick, you’re free from adequate medical care. Moreover, should you find yourself stuck with a painful and terminal illness, you’re also free from either stem-cell remedies or your own choice to end your suffering and die with dignity. You’re also free to fall through the tattered safety net of government programs during a recession or a depression, and you’ll likely be free from making those pesky house payments very much further into the future either. You’re free from wondering whether the rest of the world hates you and your country because it’s been undermining democracies, propping up dictators, and invading oil-rich countries on the basis of completely fabricated war rationales.

You’re free from having to pay your taxes today. But you’ll also be free from buying those things you wanted tomorrow, as you’ll instead be paying today’s taxes, interest on those taxes, tomorrow’s taxes, plus the share that the wealthy used to pay.

So whattaya think? Ain’t conservative freedom great?

Next time you hear a conservative ranting about the wonder and joys of freedom, tell them: “Yeah, no kidding, freedom is a really good thing. You’d like it even better if you actually tried it out some time”.

David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers’ reactions to his articles (dmg@regressiveantidote.net), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.
27 comments on “If Conservatism is the Ideology of Freedom ….
  1. The whole ideology of conservatism is a mean-spirited fraud. Even ideologues like Professor Clinton Rossiter admitted as much. And he was a lifelong conservative!

  2. I wish I had a nickel every time I heard an anti-capitalist say “I wouldn’t know how to spend that much loot.”

    Apparently your idea of “freedom” is class warfare, hatred and intolerance, right? Because all I get from this highly complex and intellectual argument against principled conservatism is this: Republicans are mean.

    I mean, I could go on and on deflating each point, but the overall, general theme is that you think the free market stinks, and conservatives are hateful.

    This has nothing to do with freedom – hell, if after 8 years of an administration of “monsters who are depriving you of your liberties” you are still here raving on and on, and not locked away in Gitmo, then your argument doesn’t hold water at all.

    -Mark

  3. you show your conservative/rightwing credentials by arguing with the usual intimidation bullshit of all rightwing hacks: that WE are talking “class warfare”, hatred and intolerance, as if you were such innocent angels. Get this through your brainwashed head: the Left, such as it is, warts and all, was created by the abuses and hypocrisy of the Right. We did not start this class war, YOU and your crowd have been waging class warfare against innocent and dumb Americans for generations. Robbing them in broad daylight. You have it all and you still want more. And if you don’t know that basic fact you’re a dupe of this superrich crowd as well. Which, if you’re a libertarian, probably are.

  4. See, my point exactly.

    Forget honest debate, immediately fall back on tested and true methods of name calling and blaming the other guy. jos.Morgenstern has no idea who I am or how I vote, and at first blush the daggers come out. Intolerance, indeed.

    If someone has a specific argument to make, I’d love to hear it.

    -Mark

  5. I have in the last years come to call myself a staunch constitutionalist….no party even pretends to read and understand what is in those pages…and is neither a friend of mine….nor yours. No side takes the side of what those all important documents say…they may pay lip service to the edges and chant mantras…but when the dust settles there is always just a few things intentionally left out that are added,,,,,and a few things intentionally included that are removed or perverted enough to render the intent unusable.
    Don’t label yourself the savior of this State if you do not intend to uphold and chant what the Country is supposed to stand for.

  6. Perverted Constitution is absolutely right. The current party setup is a joke, as much as the corporate media are a joke. They do not represent our interests or priorities in the economic, health or peace & war fields, not in education, and many other vital fields for a healthy society.

    Mark I think is a bit off the track. I realize Morgenstern sounds a bit angry, but doesn’t the current condition we are in, directly precipitated by the most rightwing/conservative/reactionary elements of the GOP the main instrument for this unraveling of our nation? Ad I would like to ask Mark a simple question: what is the author of this article saying that he specifically disagrees with? Is he prepared to stand there and say that it was not so, that the conservatives embraced precisely the opposite of what David Green is pointing out? I’d frankly like to hear it.

  7. I’m merely pointing out that screaming “it’s all the fault of conservatives” over and over doesn’t solve anything. If Mr. Green feels so strongly about all these problems he perceives, he should run for local office and do something about it.

    In response to crocker-harris, where shall I begin? Let’s just pull one at random.

    Quote: “If conservatism is the ideology of freedom, how come they’re the ones who are denying many of us the freedom to live by forbidding the stem-cell research that would likely produce cures to all manner of diseases now killing of millions of us every year?”

    Conservatives never forbade anybody to research stem cells, they just refused to let the government use taxpayer dollars to fund embryo farms where human beings would be grown and killed and have their body parts harvested like vegetables.

    Nearly all conservatives support stem cell research one hundred percent. Conservatives only oppose embryonic stem cell research, which requires the unethical cloning and butchering of innocent human beings on the taxpayer’s dime.

    If you would like me to go on I will, but I think you get my position that Mr. Green should reign in his rhetoric a bit, and accept that not all of the world’s ills are the fault of the evil, hateful conservative monsters.

    The issues mentioned are complex problems with no easy solutions. Handing them off to the government to “fix,” as opposed to allowing the free market to handle them, would merely create a bloated socialist state that would do more harm than good.

    -Mark

  8. Thank you for your reply Mark. I can see your passion and I can respect that. One of the things I despise about the Democrats (and far too many in the GOP, but that’s another story) is their gutlessness and opportunism, which are a disgrace to this republic. Both parties—if we can call one big corporate-owned party posturing with two faces— are worthless at this point, and obstacles to the reconstruction that awaits us.

    Now to Mark’s answer. Mark, I am afraid that sympathetic as I am to libertarian ideas—I guess I would define myself as a “left libertarian—I cannot accept your rationalization. It has absolutely nothing to do with reality, one of the important rules of politics. You say that “conservatives” are 100% for stem cell research—which I doubt because not even the left is uniformly for stem cell as many people still think that biogenetics is playing with fire in an environment when the rules of social morality, if anything, have plummeted while our scientific progress expands.

    Second, by what contorted standard do you exclude a person soaked in religiosity, most often a radical rightist and follower of Christian fundamentalism, from the definition of conservatism? Conservatism is a broad label that spans many shades and subsets, but all respond to certain central tenets. If Jerry Falwell, George Bush, the whole crowd of born-agains, Pat Robertson, and so on are NOT conservatives, what the hell are they? Care to ask them? And how do you think the mass media—almost uniformly defines people of different political persuasions? Do you find a single case of an opponent of abortion being classified as anything but a conservative, or even, an arch-conservative, a reactionary?

    Your own free-market fundamentalism is obviously corrupting your vision, as all forms of fundamentalism do.

    And if you care to go on giving more examples, by all means do, as I am sure many will be happy to hear your arguments for the sake of elucidating difficult decisions.

  9. Mark is correct.
    Liberalism breeds dependancy upon government and is contingent upon the hatred generated by class warfare.
    Mark is also correct about stem cell research and you cannot dodge the fact that EMBRYONIC stem cell reasearch is a morally slippery slope that the government has no business in any neither should the taxpayers be funding it. Hitler, a leftist/socialist, most certainly would have approved…why just think of the possibilities of improving the “Master Race”? You may argue that many wonderful achievements in medicine could be made by that research, like the phoney claim that conservatives kept Christopher Reeves from walking, but as you see, there’s a flip side to that coin. The same with euthanasia. We put down our pets, why not humans?….You all poke fun at Christians who ask “What would Jesus Do?” and you have every right to make fun of them, but I’ll ask “What Would Hitler Do?” In both cases, you know the answer.

    This quote is just plain funny:
    “You’re free from having to pay your taxes today. But you’ll also be free from buying those things you wanted tomorrow, as you’ll instead be paying today’s taxes, interest on those taxes, tomorrow’s taxes, plus the share that the wealthy used to pay.”

    The solution? Soak The Rich! Don’t you feel better already? It’s all about “feelings” isn’t it? Why do you want to raise taxes? Money for more failed socialist programs?
    $4 Trillion dollars on the “War on Poverty” being spent and what have we got? 4 Trillion dollars worth of poverty!
    Ahhh…how wonderful The Great Society has become. I also dare you to define “American poverty” compared to the rest of the world. My guess is that’s why America is still the shining beacon to the rest of the planet. If American poverty is so damn bad, I don’t think anybody would want to immigrate here, legally or illegally.

    Hmmmm…? Perhaps it has to do with “Conservative Freedom” and the ability to generate “wealth”.
    Adam Smith anybody? Walter Williams?

    By the way professor…your Deutsch “ist schlect”. Try putting your umlauten over the “U” in Über.

    Ed

  10. Oops..my bad. I misspelled “research”. I apologize.
    Cloudy cataracts and the morning coffee hadn’t kicked in. That’s what I get for making the umlaut comment.
    BTW, what’s up the the Froggies marching in retreat? I’m missing the symbolism and I’m pretty sure Carl Jung would too.

  11. Professor Green, I am a bit disappointed in your article here. If one of my students (I too am a professor, and of a REAL discipline: History! [Please don’t take that as a personal attack; just a bit of across-the-hallway ribbing between the History and Political Science Departments.]) presented me with a paper consisting of such unsubstantiated vitriol it would bleed red when he/she got it back. Not because I agreed or disagreed with the positions advanced in the paper, but because it lacks any kind of support or evidence for the positions advanced.

    I am also a bit surprised that you have pulled your examples from across a broad range of history–at least 250 years–and treated them as static rather than variable. Actually, given the tags at the bottom of the article, it’s not that surprising. For all his rhetoric about the inevitable progress of history, Marx (at least it seems to me) had a remarkably static concept of human society. At the risk of using such imprecise terms as “Left” and “Right,” you as a political scientist should know that the political spectrum is not static, but has rather moved steadily toward the left end of the spectrum during the period from which you draw your indictment of Conservatism. What was once radical is now conservative; what was once conservative is now unjustly oppressive; what is now liberal was once inconceivable.

    I cannot speak for all Conservatives, but I think you would be hard pressed to find many contemporary Conservatives who would embrace the concept of a divine-right absolutist monarchy, who are in favor of reinstituting slavery (abolishing Abolition, as it were), who support an established religion, or who are in favor of repealing Amendments XV and XIX. Yet these charges are leveled at all Conservatives in your article.

    I am a bit disappointed at a professor of political science claiming that some specific presidents (and a rather selective list thereof) are responsible for the staggering national debt and taxes. Presidents do not set fiscal policy for the Republic; Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly and specifically places the power of the purse in the hands of Congress. By definition the president cannot raise taxes or decide how that money is spent. I do not dispute that the nation’s financial affairs are in a sad shape, but it is the responsibility of Congress to regulate spending, borrowing and taxation. And it’s not just the Conservatives who have controlled Congress during the progressive accumulation of national debt during the 20th century.

    One last little niggling parting shot (and this is typed with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, can’t resist poking at such an assertive statement as ” The United States Constitution makes precisely the same number of references to the Christian god as it does to the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Zoroastrian. That would be none.”). There is one reference in the Constitution to the Christian God, or at least the Son thereof: in the final paragraph, just above the signatures, appears the phrase “in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” No, I’m not arguing that this is proof conclusive of a theocratic frame of mind among the signatories, just being a bit of a pedantic ass…it comes with the territory of being a professor.

  12. OMG!

    McSmith said:
    “One last little niggling parting shot ”

    He said the “N” word! He must ne a Conservative and a racist!
    Aren’t they all? Ask Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, they’re experts.
    That’s all the proof I need.

  13. crocker-harris wrote:

    “Second, by what contorted standard do you exclude a person soaked in religiosity, most often a radical rightist and follower of Christian fundamentalism, from the definition of conservatism? Conservatism is a broad label that spans many shades and subsets, but all respond to certain central tenets. If Jerry Falwell, George Bush, the whole crowd of born-agains, Pat Robertson, and so on are NOT conservatives, what the hell are they? Care to ask them? And how do you think the mass media—almost uniformly defines people of different political persuasions? Do you find a single case of an opponent of abortion being classified as anything but a conservative, or even, an arch-conservative, a reactionary? ”

    I may be reading something into your statement that is not there, and if so, please forgive me. It seems, however, that you are tarring all Conservatives with the brush of Christian Fundamentalism in the quoted paragraph, that if you are anti-abortion you must be a Christian Fundamentalist. I am anti-abortion, but I am not a Christian Fundamentalist.

    My opposition to abortion is not based on a religious ethic, but rather on the principle of being responsible for one’s actions. Three people are involved in any pregnancy, but only two of them are responsible for it. To slough off that responsibility on the one person in the equation who cannot defend her/himself is to me abhorent and unjust.

    In a time of cheap, legal, and generally effective contraception, an unwanted pregnancy is the product of willfullness or stupidity, of malignant violation, or of just plain bad luck. To my thinking, though, that does not absolve the parents from their responsibility to the child that they have created. (And yes, I do call this being in utero a child; it’s not going to be a puppydog or a porpise when it draws its first breath at birth.) If I act irresponsibly, I am none-the-less responsible for my actions before the law. I don’t see the justice in killing a child to erase the consequence of my irresponsibile behavior.

    I don’t feel this way because the Pope told me to, Pat Robertson held a prayer vigil, or because abortion makes the Baby Jesus cry. To me, laws are made to protect the rights of the individual, especially those individuals who cannot protect themselves. I cannot conceive of an individual less capable of protecting her/himself than a child in utero, thus my opposition to abortion.

    You are quite welcome to disagree with me, but please don’t lump me in with the Christian Fundamentalists when you condemn my position.

  14. Quote from crocker-harris: “…I cannot accept your rationalization. It has absolutely nothing to do with reality, one of the important rules of politics. You say that “conservatives” are 100% for stem cell research—which I doubt…”

    Forgive me, I was making a generalization – I thought you would catch that. From now on I will be more precise in my choice of wording.

    Second quote from crocker-harris: “…by what contorted standard do you exclude a person soaked in religiosity, most often a radical rightist and follower of Christian fundamentalism, from the definition of conservatism?”

    Your question is a loaded one. “When did you stop beating your wife?” If a radical right winger wants to call himself a conservative, who am I to stop him? If a Code Pink nut wants to call herself a Liberal, who am I to stop her? I think your view of conservatism is skewed by your collectivist ideology.

    I exclude no one from their right to make a choice. That is the beauty of this great republic, that one has the freedom to choose how he or she casts their vote, contingent on their own [i]individual[/i] belief system. By the way you form your questions and arguments, it seems to me that you are want to categorize people on their beliefs…very dangerous territory if you ask me.

    It is our duty as citizens to be productive and thereby contribute to the society as a whole. Bitching, in my view, is not considered productive, and contributes little, if nothing, to the debate.

    -Mark

  15. LOL
    “David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers’ reactions to his articles but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond.”

    Reminds me of the instructions on a grenade: Pull pin, throw, run away.

    MT suitcase.

    The only human species more eager and able than liberal senators to throw their country under the bus are American college professors like Green.

    Waxing poetically about the evils of conservatism underlies a belief of alternatives leading mankind to the bondage and miseries of the ages.

    Proof our society remains good and free…..For David would be arrested or killed if he believed anything other than what he has just spewed on all of us.

    Is this an example of a private school hiring the handicapped or al qaida infiltration?

  16. You guys can squirm all over, and spew green bile, but you are hard put to deny HISTORICALLY anything that this guy is saying here.

    Fact: Slavery was SUPPOORTED by conservatives, not opposed, especially throuout the South, naturally;

    Fact: Corporate pollution controls, poor as they are, have been opposed every inch of the way by you people, and the country in many areas is a disgrace. Thank you conservatives.

    Fact: In the name of libertarianism and Adam Smith and the wonderful hand of the market you have condemned millions of Americans, including me and my wife and kids to live lives of insecurity and often extreme financial duress OR privation of medical services as a result of inadequate or lack of insurance. In a recent case of infection in one molar, one of my kids was turned away by practically all dentists in the area for lack of insurance, and finally a state nurse had to intervene to get a hospital emergency clinic to drain the area since by then the infection had advanced to compromise his hearing and was threatening sepsis and possibly meningitis. You are ignorant idiots, but of the wost kind: those who sport their ignorance proudly. Go on thinking of “Number One” first and foremost until you rot. You are a despicable selfish bunch. You don’t deserve to be called real Americans.

  17. Fact: Slavery was ended by a white guy.

    Fact: As far as pollution goes….have you not been to Malaysia, China, or Russia?
    Frankly, American public schools are one of the biggest sources of pollution indoctrinating yoots into believing you are offer a solution rather than a poison pill.

    Fact: One of the most important aspects of raising children is being financially responsible for their health care in the first place. How is it you can fail at such an important task and blame your failure on conservatism?

  18. Quote from Damoclean: “Fact: Slavery was SUPPOORTED by conservatives, not opposed, especially throuout the South, naturally…”

    Um…, ever heard of Abraham Lincoln? He was a republican, you realize.

    On October 16, 1854, in Peoria, Lincoln delivered a speech against the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854). Here’s a sample:

    “[The Act has a] declared indifference, but as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty—criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

    That horrible racist thug Conservative Republican was elected to two terms.

    Second quote from Damoclean: “You are a despicable selfish bunch. You don’t deserve to be called real Americans.”

    Projecting, perhaps?
    -Mark

  19. Got some more for you…

    Quote from article above: “Why did they (Conservatives) fight against the effort to end slavery, or to give women and minorities the vote, or to protect them from discrimination?”

    The slavery part I just debunked, but what about the civil liberties part, you ask?

    The Congressional Quarterly of June 26, 1964 (p. 1323) recorded that, in the Senate, only 69% of Democrats (46 for, 21 against) voted for the Civil Rights Act as compared to 82% of Republicans (27 for, 6 against). All southern Democratic senators voted against the Act. This includes West Virginia senator and former KKK member Robert C. Bryd and former Tennessee senator Al Gore, Sr.

    In the House of Representatives, 61% of Democrats (152 for, 96 against) voted for the Civil Rights Act; 92 of the 103 southern Democrats voted against it. Among Republicans, 80% (138 for, 34 against) voted for it.

    During the Eisenhower Administration, the Republican Party made more progress in civil rights than in the preceding 80 years. According to Congressional Quarterly, “Although the Democratic-controlled Congress watered them down, the Administration’s recommendations resulted in significant and effective civil rights legislation in both 1957 and 1960 – the first civil rights statutes to be passed in more than 80 years” (“The Republican Party 1960 Civil Rights Platform,” May 1964). It reported on April 5, 1963 that, ” A group of eight Republican senators in March joined in introducing a series of 12 civil rights bills that would implement many of the recommendations made in the Civil Rights Commission report of 1961.”

    Republican senators criticized the Kennedy Administration’s February 28, 1963 civil rights message as “falling far short” of the Civil Rights Commission’s recommendations and both party platforms. “If the President will not assume the leadership in getting through Congress urgently needed civil rights measures,” the Republican senators said, ” then Congress must take the initiative” (CQ, April 5, 1963, p. 527).

    So, would you guys like to pick the next topic, or shall I grab another random one to shred?

    -Mark

  20. Sorry, but I just have to bust this one real quick…

    Quote from above article: “You’re free to shut up with your unpopular ideas.”

    Yeah, shut up with your blogs, articles, and your classroom full of impressionable young minds.

    -Mark

  21. Fact: I had a molar abcess once.
    Fact: I didn’t have dental insurence.
    Fact : I had it pulled
    Fact: I made arrangements to pay the dentist in a timely manner with what I could afford to pay.
    Fact: I had detached retinas in both eyes.
    Fact: At that time I did not have any health insurence, even though I worked and paid taxes.
    Fact: I had emergency surgery in both eyes that very same day I found out I was going blind.
    Fact: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (meaning the taxpayers) paid for it.
    Fact: I live in a great country where no emergency medical services are denied and that fact is posted in every emergency room in English and Spanish.
    Fact: Tort lawyers, 99.9% of whom are liberal just love to litigate on behalf of aggrieved “entitled” schmucks like Damoclean in medical malpractice suits causing insurence premiums to skyrocket for doctors, the cost of which of course is passed on to the consumers (patients).
    Fact: 40 years ago, doctors used to make house calls, premiums weren’t that expensive, juries didn’t award multi-million dollar lawsuits to plaintiffs, and ambulence chasing hadn’t become the multi-billion dollar industry it is today. Some things have changed. One thing hasn’t…. Socialists back then were still screaming it should all be free and run by the state.
    Feel free to move to the U.K. Damoclean. Free Socilaized Dentistry! Just like the old Soviet Union!
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,,2191204,00.html
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/15/nteeth115.xml
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/world/europe/07teeth.html?_r=1&hp&ex=1147060800&en=1e35898e2680d22b&ei=5094&partner=homepage&oref=slogin

  22. Damoclean wrote:

    “Fact: In the name of libertarianism and Adam Smith and the wonderful hand of the market you have condemned millions of Americans, including me and my wife and kids to live lives of insecurity and often extreme financial duress OR privation of medical services as a result of inadequate or lack of insurance.”

    I didn’t know that “lives of insecurity and often extreme financial duress” came with internet access these days.

  23. Dammit…I misspelled “Socialized”. Well, I’m off to work, so I can afford healthcare insurence and when the cataracts are ready to come out, I’m hoping it won’t be under “Hillarycare”.
    Oh…McSmith? Are you a member of Phi Alpha Theta too?

  24. Ed Hand Wrote:

    “Oh…McSmith? Are you a member of Phi Alpha Theta too?”

    Yep. Been a member since the 1980s, for all the good it has done me. Well, I did win the Floater Prize one year for a paper on “The Role of the Army in the Rise and Fall of the Second British Empire” and got a hundred bucks for it, but I’m still glad that they don’t require dues.

  25. A note to Mark Logan, Ed Hand and the rest of the morons piling up on Green for saying a few things that badly need saying. But let me first get this off my chest: If a human being cannot distinguish something as elementary as a simple error in premise he’s not worth talking to, nor should he pollute the Internet with his imbecilic crap. Several of you go around triumphantly saying that Abe Lincoln liberated the black people and therefore, David Green’s case about conservatives having played a big role in SUPPORTING slavery is false. Leaving aside the matter of proportions and exceptions that always occur in ALL human groups, a subtlety I suppose escape you completely, Green is talking about CONSERVATIVES, CONSERVATIVES, CONSERTVATIVES, got that you fucking morons? NOT WHITE MEN. NOT WHITE MEN. NOT WHITE MEN. This article is about Conservatives—men and women—NOT about white people. You want me to say it again?

    As for that pathetic idiot who proudly says that providing for our family’s health needs is a parent’s responsibility and not the state, what a simplistic bunch of crap!!! Typical of libertarian mush. What are you some sort of Rockefeller? You apparently are made of iron and above human circumstances like illness or simply bad luck. You probably think that the Depression of the 1930s was just a national immersion in laziness by 65 million Americans….

    As for this guy “Navigator” he claims by implication that the US is not so bad because, well, look at the rest of the world, like Russia, Malaysia and China! Russia, pal, is a CAPITALIST state, and its environmental problems stemmed from decades of having to distort its priorities in a futile arms struggle with the US, Malaysia is a CAPITALIST nation and so is China, which is a STATE CAPITALIST nation—the worst of both worlds.

    Read without blinders you stupid fools. But that would be like asking the blind man to appreciate Van Gogh’s colors.

  26. It’s the height of ignorance or willful hypocrisy to confuse the Republican Party of Lincoln with the modern GOP after the turn of the century when it fell completely under the spell of the big corporate trusts, the “Robber Barons” and has remained there since, now poisoned even further by the injection of the fundamentalist horde. I am not saying this to imply the Democrats are so great either—I despise both parties as essentially frauds, two faces of the same coin. But be at least informed or honest when you make your points. Incidentally, the biggest strides for civil rights occurred under LBJ, a democrat. If LBJ had not involved himself so deeply in the Vietnam swamp, he’d be rated today as one of the great American presidents.

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